Illustrative Descriptions and Cases of Illnesses Blood Disorders Sickle Cell Anemia and Ecchymosis

blood disorders

Blood Disorders. From the description, Amy has dietary anemia, which is a condition in which haemoglobin levels in the blood are low or the number of red blood cells is low. Red blood cells transport oxygen from the lungs to all tissues in the body and carbon dioxide from the tissues to the lungs for exchange with oxygen, (Mary et al., 2006). Anemia results in low oxygen carrying capacity of the red blood cells.

Most cases of anemia are attributed to iron deficiency and it is evident that Amy’s diet has none of it, (W.H.O, 2006). Amy’s diet lacks iron, proteins, and vitamins, which are essential in building blood haemoglobin indicating a diminished formation of red blood cells in her bone marrow resulting in iron deficiency anemia. Anemia could also be a result of infections for instance worms that feed on her blood as well as on the vitamins, diminished formation of red blood cells in the bone marrow due to defects in the bone marrow, heavy blood loss or lack of hydrochloric acid in the stomach, which is needed for digestion of iron and proteins, (Mary et al., 2006).

Signs and symptoms of anemia include fatigue, which is being tired all the time, paleness of the skin and mucous membranes, weakness, dizziness and drowsiness. Amy presents such symptoms. Some other symptoms include a haggard look with premature wrinkles, dull, pale and tired looking eyes, poor memory, shortness of breath and headache. In severe anemia, there may be signs of a hyper dynamic circulation, tachycardia, flow murmurs, and cardiac enlargement.

Red blood cells are formed in the bone marrow and have a lifespan of 120 days, (Mary et al., 2006). Production of these is continous with over 100 million new red blood cells formed daily.

Amy’s condition can be treated by including in her diet iron, proteins, and vitamins. This nutrients especially iron are necessary for the formation of red blood cells and haemoglobin in the body. Iron supplementation is also available but the condition can be corrected by taking a balanced diet.

Marcus is suffering from sickle Cell Anemia, also referred to as the trait. Sickle cell anemia is a genetically transmitted blood disorder characterized by severe hemolytic anemia, episodes of painful crisis, and increased susceptibility to infections. About 10 % of African Americans are heterozygous for sickle cell, which means they carry the sickle cell gene and this means that since Marcus is an African American chances of him having sickle cell anemia are high. It is manifested where a person has two genes for the condition, one from each parent i.e. if they are homozygous for the trait.

Red blood cells in people with sickle cell anemia contain hemoglobin S which is an abnormal type of hemoglobin, (Walter, M. 2002). As the red blood cells deoxygenate, hemoglobin S assumes a sickle like shape thus the name sickle cell. These sickled cells have low oxygen carrying capacity and block capillaries and arterioles due to their shape, leading to pain and ischemia. This results in tissue death and organ failure in the end.

Treatment aims at preventing crisis, as the condition is incurable. It also involves controlling anemia, and relieving painful symptoms. Painful crises are managed with narcotic analgesics. Blood transfusions and continued fluid replacement expand blood volume and oxygen exchange. The condition is hereditary and so can be controlled by ensuring that there is no inbreeding within a family.

Richard, who has noted over the past several weeks that he is having more bruises, or ecchymosis, all over his body could be having purpura simplex, which is increased bruising due to vascular fragility, (health central, 2009). This condition rarely affects men though. Bruises develop without known trauma on the body. It is thought to be hereditary since it is normally found within a family. Serious bleeding does not occur and no drug prevents the bruising.

Richard should avoid using aspirin and take a bed rest since aspirin suppresses platelet action thus affecting blood clotting. Purpura results from endothelial layer damage of small blood vessels, coagulation defects, capillary fragility, or a combination of these factors, (Web MD, 2008). Aging also causes purpura due to loss of collagen, which decreases connective tissue support of upper skin blood vessels. In elderly people, skin atrophy, inelasticity, and loss of subcutaneous fat increases susceptibility to minor trauma, causing purpura to appear along the veins of the forearms, hands, legs, and feet. Prolonged coughing or vomiting, as in the case with Richard can produce crops of petechiae in loose tissue.


Mary, L. M., Mark, Z., Paul, H., Elaine, T., and Jill, R. (2006). Human Diseases: A Systematic Approach, Sixth Edition. Pearson Education, Inc.

Health central website. (2009).Purpura simplex. Retrieved June 24, 2009


WebMD website, (2008).Purpura simplex. Retrieved June 24, 2009

W.H.O website, (2006), Anemia. Retrieved June 24, 2009


Walter, M. (2002). Blood disorders, Nairobi: Nairobi University Press.


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